US Sailors Victims of Videotaped Attack in Istanbul

The ship was in Istanbul on a port of call.

ByABC News
November 12, 2014, 3:14 PM

— -- Three U.S. sailors were assaulted today by about 20 people on the streets of Istanbul, Turkey, and the assault was videotaped and then posted on the internet, the Navy said.

The American embassy said the videotaped assault on the sailors was "appalling."

The Navy said the sailors were on leave from the destroyer USS Ross when about 20 people who claimed to be from the Turkish Youth Union began "verbally and physically assaulting the sailors."

The video shows one of the Turks telling the Americans, "We define you as murderers and killers and want you to get out of our land."

The sailors were then shoved and had things thrown at them. Several of the Turkish men tried to grab one American sailor and white bags were produced which they tried to put over the sailors' head while other Turks chanted, "Go home, Yankee." The sailors wrenched themselves free.

"The sailors managed to remove themselves from the situation without sustaining injuries and are safely back aboard USS Ross," the Navy's statement said.

Turkey, a Muslim country, is a U.S. ally and a member of NATO.

"We have enjoyed a strong relationship with Turkey for many years.... Turkish ports have long been very popular destinations for U.S. Navy ships, and our sailors have enjoyed the warm hospitality that has traditionally been extended," the Navy said.

The Turkish Youth Union is a left-leaning group based in Turkey's universities and has expressed opposition to "U.S. imperialism."

The Ross was in Istanbul on a port of call after a visit to the Black Sea. The ship was scheduled to depart Istanbul either today or Thursday.

The U.S. Embassy in Turkey responded to video of the incident on Twitter: